Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: The Key Differences in Your Senior Living Options


In the past, it was common for aging adults to move to a senior living community when they needed additional support at home due to health concerns.

Today, active older adults are choosing to move to senior living communities as a lifestyle choice. They want to take advantage of the services and amenities that these vibrant communities have to offer. They are looking for freedom from chores and home maintenance so they can enjoy doing the things they love. 

Unfortunately, many of our perceptions have not kept up with the times. When many people discuss senior living, they are actually referring to skilled nursing care – which is not what modern senior living looks like today.

Instead, we invite you to let go of any preconceived notions and discover what senior living is really like. While there are a variety of options, in this article we’ll explore the differences between independent living and assisted living and help you determine what option may be right for you or your loved one. 

What is independent living?

Independent living is ideal for seniors seeking a maintenance-free lifestyle, a rich social environment, and a variety of amenities and activities.

Independent living is a holistic approach to wellness, lifelong learning, and social connections. It’s a lifestyle centered around your values, interests, and life satisfaction.

Ultimately, independent living is about freedom. You are free from upkeep, stress, and responsibility. You are free to travel, spend time with family and fully enjoy your retirement years.  

You are fully in charge of your day and your schedule. You can choose to cook at home, enjoy restaurant-style dining, or meet a friend for lunch at your favorite cafe. 

What are some of the amenities of independent living?

At Senior Star, all of our incredible communities offer a wide variety of full-service amenities:

  • Concierge Services
  • Full Social & Activities Calendar
  • Signature Transportation
  • Salon and Barber Shops
  • Restaurant-Style Dining
  • Fitness Center and Innovative Programs

Perhaps your day will start off with a stroll through the nature preserve or city park out the back door. Next, you might enjoy a haircut and have your nails polished. Later, you might choose to meet a friend for lunch and make plans to attend a cooking demonstration.

Maybe you prefer to enjoy a quiet morning sipping coffee, then yoga at the fitness center, and a lively game of poker with the boys in the evening. 

It’s not about simply keeping busy – these activities and amenities are opportunities designed to give residents choices to do what they want, find fulfillment, and thrive during their retirement years.

What is the housing like?

At Senior Star, we offer a variety of residences with 1, 2, and 3-bedroom apartments.

You can enjoy all the space, security and privacy of your own home, without any maintenance, lawn care, or upkeep. You are free to decorate and style your home with comfortable furnishings, artwork, and pictures. 

Weekly housekeeping as well as maintenance and landscaping services keep your home in tip-top shape without adding any chores or tasks to your day. 

The entire community is an extension of your home. Green spaces, community gathering spots, and dining rooms are always available for you to enjoy.  

Each Senior Star community offers its own unique living options. To learn more about what is available in your community and browse floor plans, find your Senior Star location.

To fully experience all of the living options, we highly recommend an in-person tour. You’ll be able to see the bright, welcoming atmosphere within our communities, assess the clean and tidy spaces and meet some of the wonderful community members and caring associates.

What is assisted living?

Assisted living is best suited for the person who needs occasional support with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, or dining, but still desires a fully engaging lifestyle.

Residents generally have access to all community amenities and services and are free to go about their day.

This level of care in senior living offers a personalized care plan with just the right amount of support, along with the perks of a full-service community.

Assisted living provides additional peace of mind for residents and their loved ones. It’s reassuring to know that the caring assisted living staff are available 24/7 if needed.

Every effort is made to help you or your family member maintain independence. You are still in charge of your schedule and your day. You are free to explore your hobbies and interests as well as attend community events and activities that appeal to you.

At Senior Star, we like to say assisted living is onsite care for everything small and large. Whether it’s tying a shoe, helping you get to the dining room, or reminding you to take medication – we are here to support you as you enjoy doing the things you love.

It’s all about giving you the extra help when and if you need it so you can make the most of life – what exceptional care in senior living should be.

Does independent living provide medical care?

Independent living communities are aimed at older adults who need little or no assistance with activities of daily living. However, residents can choose to utilize transportation to and from their doctor’s appointments or arrange for home health services with a community partner, if needed. 

Learn more about the care available at different levels of senior living

How do you choose between independent living and assisted living?

As your needs change over time, so will your senior housing options. Whether you’re creating your own long-term care plan or helping an aging loved one explore their possibilities and preferences, learning the differences between independent living and assisted living is a great place to start.

The level of care you need will determine whether independent living or assisted living is the best option for you. Assisted living is best suited for the person who needs occasional support with the activities of daily living while independent living is designed for adults who don’t need assistance.

Both options provide a host of incredible amenities:

  • A comfortable, private living space
  • Activities and community programming
  • Concierge Services
  • Signature Transportation
  • Salon and Barber Shop
  • Restaurant-Style Dining
  • Fitness Center and Programs

Both assisted living and independent living give you the freedom to spend your time how you want and enjoy friends and family in your home.

Whatever senior living community is right for you, there is a lot to enjoy and a lot to look forward to. Multiple Senior Star locations provide varying levels of care.

Our associates are passionate about making our senior living communities safe and happy homes for all of our residents.

Download our free guide Choosing The Right Community for more in-depth and helpful information.

Questions about senior living? Contact us to learn more or schedule a tour.